Joseon royal tombs in South Korea to be designated as UNESCO World Heritage site

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Seoul, June 25 (ANI): The royal tombs of the Joseon Kingdom in South Korea are expected to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site at the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee now in session in Seville, Spain through June 30.

According to a report in Korea Times, the final review is due for the June 26 to 27 session, and if approved, the tombs will become South Korea's ninth UNESCO-designated treasure.

South Korea will have almost all its key remains of the Joseon Kingdom listed as World Heritages when the royal tombs make it past the final procedure, following Jongmyo Shrine (1995) and Changdeok Palace (1997).

The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) applied for the registration of the Joseon royal tombs as a UNESCO World Heritage in 2008.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has recommended including the 40 tombs among the total of 42, except Jereung and Hureung in North Korea, on the list.

ICOMOS is known to have highly regarded the site's unique architectural and landscape forms reflecting Confucian and geomantic traditions, as well as the related funereal rituals that have been handed down from those times to the present day as a form of intangible cultural heritage.

Placed around Seoul, Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces, the Joseon royal tombs had been meticulously preserved by court officials during the kingdom's reign of 519 years.

The 42 royal tombs house 27 generations of the kingdom's kings, queens, and posthumously designated rulers.

"The first and foremost value of the royal tombs is their good preservation for more than five centuries. Such preservation from a single kingdom is a rare case elsewhere in the world," said Chung Jae-hoon, professor of the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage.

He also said that the tombs have unique patterns that distinguish them from neighboring nations, such as China and Japan.

"Many Asian cultures were influenced by Chinese culture but the Joseon royal tombs have distinct characteristics in styles and structure, which are not found in China or Japan, although the scales of the tombs are smaller than the grandiose sites in China," said Chung.

Chung pointed out that the tomb sites also boast of unique landscapes surrounded by an endless series of mountain ridges for layered protection, security and tranquility. (ANI)

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